ENVIRONMENT Minister Reece Whitby has refused to give a date for his determination of the Allawuna Farm landfill proposal, following a Question on Notice from Central Wheatbelt MLA Mia Davies, in state Parliament last week.
In a question to the Minister, Ms Davies said she referred to the proposed project by Alkina Holdings that if approved would see a landfill located at Allawuna Farm on the Great Southern Highway at the entrance to the historic town of York.
“I ask can the Minister confirm that the Environmental Protection Authority (EPA) completed its report into this project in May, 2023 and can the Minister advise when the community can expect a determination on whether this project may proceed,’’ Ms Davies said.
“A project which threatens to disrupt and damage a pristine agricultural and tourism destination.’’
Mr Whitby said: “As the member will know the EPA is an independent statutory body and makes determinations largely around environmental issues and I respect that process. So, the EPA has made a determination, but it is yet for the government to make its decision, and indeed for me to make a decision.
“So, I will consider the EPA recommendation but will also consider the wider implications. I am aware of the views of the local community, I’m aware of the views of the local government and some of the aspirations in terms of tourism and other quality of life issues in the area and I will pay due consideration to those,” Mr Whitby said.
Ms Davies then asked a supplementary question.
“The second part of my question is when can the Minister advise when the community can expect a determination, given as you stated, when the project doesn’t comply with the Shire of York’s planning scheme, has not been recommended by the Joint Development Assessment Panel for the Midwest and Wheatbelt and has been rejected by the York community on numerous occasions,” Ms Davies said.
Mr Whitby said he acknowledged everything Ms Davies said, but repeated the earlier point he made about the EPA’s determination on environmental grounds.
“I’ll give due consideration and I’ll carefully consider this – I’m not going to give you a date here and now, but I’ll make a decision that is in the best interests of the community,” Mr Whitby said.
As reported in Echo News July 12 special report United opposition to York landfill proposal the EPA recommended environmental approval for a landfill proposal at Allawuna Farm, 15km west of York and adjacent to Perth’s water catchment.
Concerns have been raised that leachate could seep out of the landfill causing contamination of surface and groundwater, and while the EPA has acknowledged the potential for contamination they said the landfill’s design was consistent with industry practice and was suitable for the proposed location
A state government spokesperson said in its report, the EPA recognises the level of community concern and notes the proposal is not consistent with the Shire of York’s current planning scheme.
“The EPA’s recommendations are now subject to an appeals period. At the conclusion of the appeals process, consultation with relevant ministers, including the Minister for Planning and the Minister for Water, will occur.
“Land use planning as well as social and economic impacts will be considered before a final decision is made.”
Opponents of the landfill proposal include the shires of York, Toodyay and Mundaring, the York Business Association (YBA), the Avon Valley Residents Association (AVRA), and the Perth Hills Climate Change Interest Group (PHCCIG).